Last night’s game between the Leafs and Jets was fast-paced, high-scoring, and precisely the type of game that makes watching hockey fun. That is until the game became an absolute shitshow in the third period due to the incompetency of two referees. For those who live under a figurative rock and missed all of the bullshit that went down last night, here’s a great recap of all of the madness.
I’ve seen some lousy refereeing in my time as a Leaf fan, I mean, the three Boston-Toronto series alone are enough to make even the biggest bootlicker lose faith in authority, but last night, that was the magnum opus.
To start off, what the fuck is the deal with matching minors. NHL referees must be from Sweden or something because they love equality so much that they’ll give players matching penalties just for the sake of it.
Auston Matthews, two minutes for being ridden like a horse. Absolutely brilliant stuff. Funnily enough, this is the LEAST egregious thing the refs did last night. Let’s move on to slide number two, shall we?
Apparently, serious intent to injure kneeing is allowed now? The referee is looking RIGHT AT Neal Pionk and doesn’t move a muscle! Not a major, not a minor, nothing. Meanwhile, Rasmus Sandin can barely get back to his bench because his knee just got exploded into a million pieces.
And then there’s this quote from Jets coach Paul Maurice.
What an utter clown. Have some shame, Paul; if the roles were reversed, you’d be calling for Sandin’s head. I get defending your players but come on, man, read the room. Pionk has been given a hearing with NHL player safety, but it’s not an in-person one which means, in all likelihood, he’ll probably get a game or two. Meanwhile, early signs are that Rasmus Sandin will miss a couple of months, fucking sick league.
One player who will get an in-person hearing is Jason Spezza for this revenge hit on Pionk.
Obviously, it’s a terrible hit, and yes, he deserves multiple games. But I can’t say I’m mad he did it. He didn’t even hurt the team because he also DIDN’T GET A PENALTY! I reiterate Auston Matthews got a penalty for having Pierre Luc-Dubois sit on him for five seconds, but neither Pionk nor Spezza was sent to the box for either of their blatant knees. In a vacuum, Spezza’s hit is inexcusable, but if the refs had done their jobs, Spezza wouldn’t even have had the chance to get back at Pionk because he would’ve been tossed for his hit on Sandin.
After Spezza’s hit, things only got more out of control from there. Kyle Clifford beat the shit out of Brandon Dillion, Wayne Simmonds tried to fight literally anyone he could, and Logan Stanley celebrated losing a fight like he’s Rocky Balboa. At the very least, I’m happy that Spezza stood up for our young stud. I wish he would’ve done it differently, but in past years the Leaf teams wouldn’t have done a thing, this time around, they stood their ground. It only amplifies the feeling that Leaf fans have that this team is different, that they’ve finally figured it out. They only took one point out of a possible four this weekend, but in Leafs’ fans’ minds, they’re only more confident in this team.
Now back to the refereeing. When you let guys get away with anything they want, they’re going to try and get away with anything they want. I don’t understand why that’s so hard for people to understand. This league has rules to protect players for a reason, and if they’re not going to be enforced, then seriously, what is the point? We’ve got guys like John Tortorella criticizing the league’s best player for what? For being so good that the only way to stop him is to take a penalty that NHL referees don’t call. Why shouldn’t he complain? Why shouldn’t he get upset that his team is being penalized because he’s so much better than everyone else? It’s disgusting, and it’s one of the major reasons why this league lags behind every other sport, including baseball. Last night’s game should lead to a complete overhaul of the way the sport is officiated, but once again, it won’t, nothing will change, and the fans will be the ones left to deal with the bullshit.